week of feb 17th thru feb 23rd, 2014 (mm 52)

Monday

7 miles, 1:19, +1000′ vert. great hill repeat jog with Kels and Maya. Towers Rd was closed (muddy) so we headed over to Lory. Timber was pretty muddy still but we had a great time. did about 7 x 4 minute repeats with a recovery minute or two after each (until I got back to Kels and Maya). Good to push uphill. Hopefully a good week ahead.

Tuesday

6 miles, 1:12. +600′ vert. Perch #22. though the gate was still closed, we jumped it and kept going (it was 5 am, who’s going to be out there to stop us?). I definitely respect and adhere to closed gates when the city/county closes trails due to muddy/wet conditions–hiking and running on them when they’re like that would only degrade them rapidly. That being said, they’ve been closed since last Wednesday (rightfully so), but I have no doubt they’ll open’em back up today because the entire trail was perfectly dried-out. I haven’t seen dirt on that trail for a good two months! It was 55 with not a hint of breeze this morning–amazing. Came home and did my (what will hopefully be my regular) thrice-weekly core and strength training routine. Knee was a little twingy on the downhills but nothin’ terrible.

Wednesday

rest day

Thursday

18 miles, 3:52. +3700′ vertical gain (~205’/mile). Trails were either closed or dangerously icy, so resigned myself to heading up the timber trail a few (4) times. I didn’t mind repeating the route (especially because it was 95% dry) but the trail is totally exposed–and I heard on the radio on the way over that we were getting wind gusts up to 70 mph. I believe it–windier’n a jack rabbit out there. I was thankful for the dry, uphill trail and was happy with my pacing. the four loops: :55.10, :55.54, :56.57 and :52.52. I had a little energy in the tank for the last repeat so i gunned it a bit. my ascent was :25.24 which I think is a PR for that route. I’ll take it! the knee held really well.

Friday

7 miles, 1:25. +750′ vert. perch #23. holy canoli was it windy today. worse than yesterday for sure. legs felt dead and i had no energy after yesterday’s effort, but i slogged through knowing tomorrow is a day off.

Saturday

day off

Sunday

7 miles, 1:20. +800′ vert. Perch #24. we didn’t sleep much last night as we both battled some GI issues from our Thai food dinner. Man, it was delicious going down, but…
Unfortunately that meant I had to pass (gas) on the long outing with Humphrey up at Lory (sorry, H!), and didn’t get out the door til late afternoon. ran the usual perch run and added 3 solid hill repeats (3 mins each). beautiful day with no wind! knee felt pretty good today. added some strength/core stuff afterwards.

Weekly Totals

45 miles, 9:10, +6850′ vertical gain (+152’/mile)

Great week back in the saddle.  Trails were pretty muddy (which prevented me from getting in more vertical gain–that and the Thai food from last night) but I managed to hit my mileage goal for the week/month (goal: one week in February would be 45 miles).  Due to muddiness and subsequent low amount of climbing, the weekly average (152’/mile) was a bit under my weekly goal (160-180’/mile) but not by much.  My monthly total will suffer due to last week’s illness but it won’t matter in the long run.  After 45 miles this week I feel good, knee held well and I’m looking forward to March’s high mileage.  I have a half-rest-week coming up as we’ll be headed to NYC for a long weekend.  Also looking into a lead-up race to Quad Rock–maybe Desert Rats marathon or 50k at the end of April. We’ll see.

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halfway there.

Six months from today I will–with good training, no injuries, lots of help from friends, and a little bit of luck–be finishing the Leadville 100.  I’m as excited and scared about the race as I was back in August when we decided to give it a go.  Both emotions have been helpful.  Both excitement and fear get me through the days I’m lacking motivation, and encourage constant tinkering, planning, and motivation to be prepared–both in training and strategy.

In recounting the first six months of training (they went fast!), I think I did a pretty good job of laying a good foundation for the next phase.  I remained (mostly) uninjured, very slowly built-up my mileage, and avoided the apathy that naturally comes with low temperatures and snow/ice.  Winter certainly isn’t through yet, but I’ve done well to establish a bit of a routine in when and how I head-out for runs.

That being said, there is still (and always will be) room for improvement.  The increased mileage (especially the downhills) have started creeping into my right knee.  It’s mostly a small, nagging irritant but I definitely need to be regimented about stretching/yoga as well as strength/core training (especially in areas that will help alleviate knee pain).  I’ve started doing both of these things but need to solidify them in my normal weekly routine.

I’m also going to return to the idea that each run has purpose.  I’ve strayed a little from this idea the last month or two.  For the five/six runs during the week, one will involve hill repeats, one speed/intervals, two MATs (keeping heart rate in the aerobic zone to burn fat, get used to a steady, even pace, and to act as a recovery run of sorts), and one really, really long effort.  If I go for a sixth day that can be my ‘whatever-pace/effort-I-feel-like’ day (hey, a meandering day still qualifies as ‘purpose’ as long as it isn’t the norm).  Included within this purposeful schedule will be Back-to-Backs.  That is, each long day will be followed by a short-to-medium outing the next day (most likely a MAT run).  This will allow for some rest in between days but will also help simulate the empty, low energy feeling one has later in ultra races.  I.e., instead of doing 35 miles in one day, I’ll do 25 on Friday and 10 on Saturday.

These ‘purposeful runs’ will focus either on vertical gain (most important) or speed (well, more descriptively, getting my slow legs to turnover a bit quicker, which hopefully in turn makes for faster long runs).  My vertical gain per mile goal (for a week) remains to be over +160’/mile on average.  That outta get it done for the LT100 track.

Finally, my long runs/race nutrition plan is going through some revamping.  I’ve tried to go more and more ‘natural’ in my nutrition plans for long runs and races, shying away from the GUs and crappy fake-sugar junk that’s easy to fit into a pocket.  While convenient, they make my stomach go sour in a hurry and I know that my biggest concern after about 60 miles (during Leadville) will be my ability to take in (and keep down) calories.  Now that my long runs are creeping up into the upper teens and lower 20s, I will be experimenting with different real food items (mostly homemade) that will provide the quick/long energy I require for 6, 8, 10 hour outings.

That sounds like a lot of new goals and tweaking of ‘the plan’, but really, I think the above notes simply add some focus and purpose to a training plan that is pretty solid, but requires a pick-me-up.  I also want to have training, nutrition and my health be in a solid place for my two big tests which start in less than 3 months–Quad Rock 50 (May) and the Leadville Marathon (June).

Thanks for reading and following along! Hopefully the mileage will continue to increase and the odds will be in my favor come Spring…and Summer.  Time to make the turn toward home.

Run on.

week of feb 10th thru feb 16th, 2014 (mm 50)

Monday

rest day.  didn’t think I’d have three more later in the week…

Tuesday

6 miles, 1:17.  Perch #21, +600′ vert. felt under the weather–thought a good sweat session would help clear things up. nope. made it worse. first time i’ve been sick since november 2011. what a run it was! so much has happened since then–the 2012 mayan apocalypse, summer olympics in london, mitt romney. that’s about it i guess. new streak starts soon.

Wednesday

Sick. No work. No play. 

Thursday

Still felt pretty shot.  Went to work, but no play.  

Friday

3.5 miles, :40, +250′ vert. beautiful day and the first time i’ve felt even close to ‘well’ since Tuesday morning. energy was really low and muscles achy but I jogged to the gate (which is closed due to muddy conditions–it’s 50 today and the snow is all but melted). good shake-out. definitely got to the point this week where I made peace with the fact that my goal mileage for February is a bit out the window. It’s still early, many miles to go. Hoping to feel 100% by Monday so I can put in a solid week (~45 miles?)…depending on the knees.

Saturday

3.5 miles, :36, +300′ vert.  Felt better than yesterday but still lacking kick. snow continues to melt on the trail to the perch (lots of mud, therefore it was closed) which was just as well since i’m not feeling up to going that far yet. used the HRM for the first time in a couple weeks (MAT) and really tried to focus on form and which specific movements make my knee-tweak disappear. today went pretty well in those regards. Also adding squats and hamstring strengthening to the mix–hopefully more consistently–in hopes that that will also relieve some of the issues.

Sunday

4 miles, :38, +350′ vert. windy but quite warm today. energy levels are back to normal and the quick jog felt pretty good. ready to get back at it this week. hopefully the trails dry out a little bit.

Weekly Totals

17 foot miles, +1500′ vertical gain (+88’/mile), ~3:15.  Pretty much a ‘rest’ week in that I couldn’t do much and did my best to side with caution–no need to really push it until next week because I really don’t need to miss more time.  

week of feb 3rd thru feb 9th, 2014 (mm 48)

Monday

resting up for a big week

Tuesday

6 miles, 1:14.  Perch #18, +600′ vert. snowing again this a.m., Colorado startin’ to feel like MN with all this standing snow that refuses to melt. Didn’t need the tiki torches until the descent. Stubbs and Jay-pop were up early rockin’ it with me. always fun to cruise downhill with lots of cushion.

Wednesday

7 miles, 1:25.  Perch #19, +800′ vert. colder’n $#@% out there today. more snow and wind last night covered the deepening trench we got goin’ to the top. added a little incline and interval action as well–pushing it on the uphill, recovering on the flats/declines. another fun wintery outing. 

Thursday

rest day

Friday

7 miles, 1:30.   Perch #20, +800′ vert. took it a bit slow and easy–same run as Wednesday. i was bit worried that my water bottle/reservoir was going to freeze on a long outing so I put off the big effort until tomorrow (supposedly warmer) and headed to the perch. found a nice, slow rhythm and enjoyed it.

Saturday

16 miles, 3:48.   4000′ vert. 2.5 trips to the top from Soderburg TH. Within a mile I knew it was going to be a tough outing–no energy and the legs felt shot (meow!). Considering that, and the punchy, deep snow for the first half mile and the 1/2 mile at the top…AND…considering my turnaround break was about 2-3 minutes longer than two weeks ago (a little more putzy today) , I’m pretty happy with 3:48. Two weeks ago, exact route and distance (with little-to-no-snow) was 3:47. #consistent!
That being said, my knees are startin’ to feel it. The downside (pun intended) of getting in a lot of vertical gain is the pounding the joints take on the return. Trying to keep good form, do some yoga, core exercises, taking salt baths. Any other ideas are appreciated!

Sunday

7 miles, 1:40. +1800′ vert. a nice shake-out jaunt with Humphrey and Ben (and Plum)–cold and foggy this morning. much different then yesterday’s tropical 35 degrees and sunny. energy was a bit low after yesterday’s effort but the muscles felt pretty good. right knee becoming an issue–but i’ll just keep on yoga-ing and salt bathing and icing if necessary. a great week overall.

Weekly Totals

43 foot miles, +8000′ vertical gain (186’/mile), ~9:45. 

Finally felt like I hit my vertical feet per mile goal this week–I had been wondering why my knees were feeling it more than normal until I did the calculation a few seconds ago.  A cold and snowy week but I’m glad I worked through it.  It’s supposed to be a bit warmer this coming week, which is good considering I have two big mileage weeks ahead.  A good mix of long, vertical, speed/interval, some weight training and stretching/yoga.  Hope to keep the momentum going.

week of jan 27th thru feb 2nd, 2014 (mm 45)

Monday and Tuesday

rest week begins well

Wednesday

6 miles, 1:12. perch #14, +600′ vert. cold early morning outing. lots of snow but the trail was packed down except for the last 1/2 mile, making for cushioned landings. Got about 2/3rds of the way up when I noticed Stubbs’ headlamp (I mean, who else is crazy enough to be out at 5:15 in the morning when it’s 5 degrees?) below me about 5 minutes. Held up and we trudged to the top together. legs felt a bit rested after two days off.

Thursday

6 miles, 1:20. perch #15, +600′ vert. a strangely/creepily warm morning–snow melting in the dark? weird. Legs felt stiff (did a few weight lifting exercises yesterday…) and I was a bit low on energy. Stubbs and I tip-toed over ice (snow melted then froze on the trails) and only slipped about 17 times. Needless to say things were slow going but it’s always satisfying to get to the top and look down on a still-sleeping city, then turning west to see the dark outline of the Rocky Mountains. always a good start to the day.

Friday

restin’

Saturday

7 miles, 1:15. perch #16, +600′ vert. Snowin’ like crazy the last two days. Luckily there was a snowshoer about a half mile in front of me–she packed down a fair amount of snow. Made the job slightly easier, not as much sloggin’. definitely feeling rested and legs are enjoying a little breather this week.

Sunday

3.5 miles, 2 hours. +550′ vert, perch #17. great hike with FIF Bruce, Kels and the pup-dog: 30 and sunny with lots of snow on the ground (and on the trees and grass and water and prairie dogs). The trail has packed down considerably since yesterday’s outing, which will make things a little smoother for this next week’s outings. What a perfect Colorado day!   Go Broncos!

Weekly Totals

23 foot miles, +2350′ vertical gain (~102’/mile), ~5:45

Solid rest week with mostly just…rest.  Great to have the father-in-law-figure out for a visit and to witness Kels officially “Mastering” sociology.  Gonna pick things up this next week with more weight training and trying to hit about 42 miles.  Give-r-take.                                 ——————————–

Overall January went great–my goal was 145 miles and I hit the mark dead on.  Not too many, not too little.  Vertical gain per mile is about right, and I don’t feel tired-out.  February is starting with lots of snow which could bog-down my numbers for the month but it’s still early.  still 6 months to go.